Raider boys claim Big Rivers hockey championship
After all the anticipation leading up to last Friday night's showdown between Hudson and Eau Claire Memorial for the Big Rivers Conference championship, it took just 12 seconds for the Raiders to take control.
Parker Shefveland scored just 12 seconds after the opening faceoff, assisted by AJ Romanoski and Adam Lipps, and the Raiders never trailed on their way to clinching the BRC title with a 3-2 victory over the Old Abes.
The win was one of four posted by the Raiders in a busy week of action that saw them end the regular season with a record of 17-5-0 overall and claim their first BRC championship since 2006 with a conference mark of 11-1-0. Eau Claire Memorial had won the last six BRC titles.
Hudson put itself in a position to win the conference crown with a 5-3 victory over River Falls last Tuesday and an 8-0 shutout at Eau Claire North Thursday. They wrapped up the regular season with a 3-1 nonconference win Saturday afternoon at Hayward.
Raider coach Brooks Lockwood said he used Thursday's trip to Hobbs Arena to play Eau Claire North as motivation for his team.
"We talked to the kids about Eau Claire Memorial's conference championship banner that hangs in Hobbs arena and lists their consecutive conference championships," Lockwood said. "Memorial has been very successful the last six or seven years in our conference and the kids were focused on bringing the outright championship back to Hudson."
Shefveland accounted for all three Raider goals in the championship-clinching win, giving Hudson a 2-0 lead at the 13:37 mark of the first and making it a 3-0 game with a power play goal midway through the second.
"Parker Shefveland had a great game," Lockwood said. "He has been one of our most consistent players all year and our leader on the forward end in the plus-minus column, so it was great to see him get rewarded. He had some help from Wyatt Dove and Adam Lipps as well, bringing up the rest of that line."
Dove assisted on two of Shefveland's goals while Lipps had one assist. Memorial's goals came at the 13:14 mark of the second period and with three seconds remaining in the third to make the final 3-2.
Raider goalie Mac Alboreo finished with 15 saves as the Raiders outshot the Old Abes, 32-17.
"Unfortunately one of our top players, Emerson Korum, came down with the flu and wasn't able to play in the game," Lockwood noted. " I think the kids really rallied around that because they knew that he wanted to be out there."
Korum scored the Raiders' first goal in their 5-3 win over River Falls last Tuesday. Dove tallied a goal and an assist and Austin Dreher, Henry Brose and Shefveland had one goal each while Daniel Tripicchio had two assists while Tanner Hanson and Brian Mackley had one apiece.
Alboreo made 21 saves as the Raiders outshot the Wildcats, 34-21.
Thursday night the Raiders fired 63 shots on goal in an 8-0 win at Eau Claire North. Lipps had a hat trick and Tripicchio contributed a goal and three assists while Michael Hommes had a goal and two assists. Jack Cernohous added one goal and one assist and Brose and Dove chipped in with a goal apiece while Shefveland dished out two assists and Korum had one.
Josh Mattis stopped all 13 shots he faced to record the shutout.
Saturday afternoon at Hayward, Tripicchio, Carter Schuett and Dove all had first period goals and Mattis finished with 23 saves in a 3-1 Raider victory. Hanson and Shefveland each picked up one assist.
"The Hayward game was a good test for the guys to see if they could bounce back after the long stretch of games and finish the season strong," Lockwood said. "It was an ugly game but our goalie played well and we didn't give up too many odd man rushes even though they were stretching us out. Either way a win's a win and now we can rest a bit before Thursday."
Hudson will open the postseason with a WIAA regional final against either Baldwin-Woodville or Siren at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14, at Gornick Arena. Until then, Lockwood said the Raiders will enjoy their BRC title.
"All around it is really a great group of kids who come from a great group of parents and their positive energy every day at the rink seems to be putting us in a good spot," the coach said. "Each day we focus on practicing like a championship team both on the ice and in the weight room and we expect that to carry us into the game. Now we need to turn our focus to the playoffs and continue to hit our goals."